The Fastest Charging Electric Vehicles in 2022 

The Fastest Charging Electric Vehicles in 2022 

You want to go electric, but dread the thought of waiting around the charging station for 45 minutes to an hour. While most electric vehicle charging is done at home overnight (for pennies on the dollar), the occasional road trip necessitates visits to public fast charging stations. Also known as ‘level 3’ DC fast chargers, the amount of time spent charging here varies widely from one electric vehicle model to another. 

These are the fastest charging electric vehicles on the market today. Plus, we’ll take a sneak peek at a few EVs that are just around the corner. 

See the latest availability and wait times for every EV on the market

*Note: Charge times are reflected as 10% to 80% because in all EVs, charging speeds slow significantly beyond 80% state of charge as the battery management system (the car’s computer) balances out the energy distribution at the ‘top of the pack’. In many cases, it may take the same amount of time to charge from 10% to 80% as it does to charge from 80% to 100%.

Fastest Charging Electric Cars Under $45,000

Kia EV6

Wind Rear-Wheel Drive

2022 Kia EV6

10-80% (217 miles of range gained) in 18 minutes

Peak charging power accepted: 235 kilowatts

Range at 80%: 248 miles

Range at 100%: 310 miles

Starting price with destination charges: $49,495

Federal EV tax incentive: Qualifies

Learn more about the 2022 Kia EV6

Hyundai IONIQ 5

Rear-Wheel Drive

The 2022 Hyundai IONIQ 5

10-80% (212 miles of range gained) in 18 minutes

Peak charging power accepted: 235 kilowatts

Range at 80%: 242 miles

Range at 100%: 303 miles

Starting price with destination charges: $45,200

Federal EV tax incentive: Qualifies

Learn more about the 2022 Hyundai IONIQ 5

Volkswagen ID.4

Pro Rear-Wheel Drive

2022 Volkswagen ID.4

10-80% (193 miles of range gained) in 29 minutes

Peak charging power accepted: 135 kilowatts

Range at 80%: 220 miles

Range at 100%: 275 miles

Starting price with destination charges: $42,430

Federal EV tax incentive: Qualifies

Learn more about the 2022 Volkswagen ID.4

Electric cars cost $11,000 more than ICE competitors on average. Worried about when you’ll break even with an electric vehicle purchase? We did the math for you. See EV break-even times with and without incentives.

Fastest Charging Electric Cars Under $70,000

Tesla Model 3

Long Range Dual Motor

2022 Tesla Model 3

10-80% (251 miles of range gained) in 22 minutes

Peak charging power accepted: 235 kilowatts

Range at 80%: 286 miles

Range at 100%: 358 miles

Starting price with destination charges: $59,190

Federal EV tax incentive: No longer qualifies

Learn more about the Tesla Model 3

Genesis GV60

Dual-Motor

2022 Genesis GV60

10-80% (174 miles of range gained) in 18 minutes

Peak charging power accepted: 235 kilowatts

Range at 80%: 198 miles

Range at 100%: 248 miles

Starting price with destination charges: $59,980

Federal EV tax incentive: Qualifies

Learn more about the 2022 Tesla Model Y

Tesla Model Y

Long Range Dual-Motor

Tesla Model Y

10-80% (231 miles of range gained) in 22 minutes

Peak charging power accepted: 235 kilowatts

Range at 80%: 264 miles

Range at 100%: 330 miles

Starting price with destination charges: $67,190

Federal EV tax incentive: No longer qualifies

Learn more about the 2022 Tesla Model Y

Ford Mustang Mach-E 

Extended Range Rear-Wheel Drive

2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E

10-80% (212 miles of range gained) in 45 minutes

Peak charging power accepted: 150 kilowatts

Range at 80%: 242 miles

Range at 100%: 303 miles

Starting price with destination charges: $49,975

Federal EV tax incentive: Qualifies

Learn more about the 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E

Fastest Charging Electric Trucks

Rivian R1T

Explore

Rivian R1T fast charging

10-80% (220 miles of range gained) in 42 minutes

Peak charging power accepted: 220 kilowatts

Range at 80%: 251 miles

Range at 100%: 314 miles

Starting price: $79,500

Federal EV tax incentive: Qualifies

Learn more about the Rivian R1T

Chevrolet Silverado EV

Mid-Trims TBD

Silverado EV

100 miles of range in 10 minutes is all GM has told us so far

Peak charging power accepted: 350 kilowatts

Range at 80%: 320 miles

Range at 100%: up to 400 miles

Starting price: Estimated $50,000

Federal EV tax incentive: No longer qualifies

Learn more about the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV

Ford F-150 Lightning

XLT Extended Range

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning charging speed

15% to 80% (208 miles of range gained) in 41 minutes

Peak charging power accepted: 150 kilowatts

Range at 80%: 256 miles

Range at 100%: 320 miles

Starting price: $72,474

Federal EV tax incentive: Qualifies

Learn more about the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning

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Does Temperature Affect Electric Vehicle Performance? Yes, But the Details Matter

Does Temperature Affect Electric Vehicle Performance? Yes, But the Details Matter

2022 Tesla Model 3

Until charging stations are commonplace, owning an electric vehicle will require more planning and preparation than one would expect for a day’s drive. Range is the new MPG, however real-world range isn’t easy to pin down. When the U.S. EPA provides official range ratings, the figures are based on vehicles driving in controlled environments on a predetermined track. EV ownership is full of nuances, and one of the greatest is the affect of weather on range. Let’s explore how electric vehicles perform in cold weather, hot weather, rain and wind. 

Electric Vehicles in Cold Weather

Cold weather reduces EV range, but how much depends on how toasty you keep the cabin. Sub-freezing temperatures reduce range by between 12% and 30%, but that’s without the climate control on to warm the cabin. Data from AAA found that once the heater is turned on, EV range can drop by as much as 41%. Some real-world tests have found range losses closer to 50% with below-zero temperatures. That’s not good if you travel long distances across the northern states or the Interior West. More on specific impacts below.

Electric Vehicles in Hot Weather

Yes, hot weather does reduce EV range. According to research conducted by AAA, hot temperatures don’t have quite as great of an impact as cold temperatures, but it’s still noticeable. In temperatures of 95 degrees Fahrenheit and the air conditioning on, driving range decreases  by 17% on average.

A 17% drop in range would mean that a Model Y normally rated for 330 miles on a charge would get closer to 273 miles. Not too big of a deal. For electric vehicles with less EPA-rated range, it matters more. The standard range 2022 Nissan Leaf normally gets 150 miles on a charge, but that would drop to 124 miles in 95-degree weather. Ouch.

Does Rain Affect EV Range?

Rain, snow and anything else falling from the sky does lower EV range. Why? It creates drag, and EV efficiency is all about aerodynamics. The heavier the rain, the greater the impact on range, even if temperatures are perfect for battery performance.

Speaking of which, what is the ideal temperature for electric vehicle battery performance? Geotab’s analysis of data from 4,200 EVs found that 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21.5 Celsius) is ideal for battery performance. That’s not only perfect for maximum range, it’s great weather all around. Learn more in Geotab’s full report

How Much Does Wind Impact EV Range?

Similarly, wind’s impacts on electric vehicle range have to do with drag. Drag is in essence aerodynamic friction. Your fancy new electric car can’t slide through the air so efficiently with friction working on it. 

Wind can work against you or for you. With a steady tailwind pushing you along, it’s common to exceed range expectations even on the highway. When there’s a substantial headwind, range drops, and sometimes by quite a lot. The impacts of wind on EV range are much more noticeable at highway speeds. It’s possible to gain or lose up to 20% of expected range depending on wind direction.

Weather Impacts Depend on Model and Battery Chemistry

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning

Temperature impacts battery performance differently depending on battery type and overall vehicle engineering. Features such as a heat pump, advanced battery preconditioning and even heated seats are just some of the many ways that engineers can do their best to optimize EV performance in suboptimal weather. 

EV data specialists at Recurrent looked at data from all of the popular electric vehicle models. They found that EV range in hot and cold weather varies widely from one make and model to another. 

Here’s how some of America’s most popular electric vehicles are affected by cold weather and summer heat. 

MakeModelRated RangeReal-World Range (70 deg F)Cold Weather Range Loss
TeslaModel 3353 miles339 miles335 miles (-5% from rated range)
TeslaModel Y330 miles320 miles323 miles (-2% from rated range)
TeslaModel S405 miles397 miles380 miles (-6% from rated range)
TeslaModel X351 miles326 miles326 miles (-7% from rated range)
FordMustang Mach-E305 miles284 miles198 miles (-35% from rated range)
ChevroletBolt259 miles254 miles171 miles (-34% from rated range)
NissanLeaf226 miles237 miles205 miles (-9% from rated range)
HyundaiKona258 miles288 miles240 miles (-7% from rated range)
Audie-tron222 miles224 miles206 miles (-7% from rated range)

For a full breakdown of Recurrent’s findings, check out their 2021 report here

It’s Not Just EVs….

The U.S. Department of Energy says that vehicles powered by traditional internal combustion engines (ICE) also suffer efficiency losses as a result of hot and cold weather. ICE vehicles are especially impacted by hot weather due to air conditioning power requirements. The Department of Energy estimates that ICE vehicles lose about 25% of their typical fuel economy when operating with air conditioning on high settings. 

One major difference between EVs and ICE vehicles is the affect of cold weather. Electric vehicles use quite a bit of energy to run the heater, whereas ICE vehicles redirect heat generated by the engine and therefore avoid significant effects on efficiency. 

Although EV charging stations are becoming commonplace around major cities, many interstate highways have sparse charging infrastructure. Until charging stations are more reliable and easier to find, driving an EV in cold and hot weather will complicate EV ownership and delay EV adoption. A national charging network is on the way, and public fast-charging networks are growing quickly. With EV market share soaring every month, it’s imperative that we find solutions to this seasonal challenge that affects millions. 

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5 Reasons Why You Should Plan Ahead Before Buying an Electric Car

5 Reasons Why You Should Plan Ahead Before Buying an Electric Car

2023 Fisker Ocean

Sadly, these days it’s not possible to leisurely head to a dealership and pick out the perfect vehicle. Inventory remains at record lows, and supply chain shortages are going to get worse before they get better. The electric lifestyle is an adjustment for most first-time EV buyers, and preparation eases the transition considerably. You don’t want your new car honeymoon to be ruined by missed opportunities or misconceptions. Here are five reasons why you should plan ahead before making your first electric car purchase.

Inventory is hard to come by

2022 Hyundai IONIQ 5

Inventory is slim to none for all new autos, and electric vehicles have been hit especially hard by the supply shortages of 2021 and 2022. EVs are the product of truly global supply chains, and that makes them particularly vulnerable to disruptions. EV leader Tesla has so far avoided the worst of the supply shortages, however high demand has new orders seeing delivery dates over 8 months away. 

Tesla isn’t the only automaker seeing serious delays. The popular Volkswagen ID.4, Ford Mustang Mach-E and Hyundai IONIQ 5 are all hard to find on a dealer lot nationwide. Data from Cox Automotive shows that day’s supply, the preferred industry metric for new car availability, is dismal for several electric vehicle makers. 

Here’s the day’s supply for popular brands that sell electric cars in America. Tesla, Rivian and Lucid sell directly to consumers, so there is no available data for their models.

  • Kia: 19
  • Volkswagen: 29 days
  • Nissan: 34
  • Hyundai: 35
  • Chevrolet: 39
  • Ford: 40

As bad as these supply estimates are, many shoppers note that many dealers have just a few cars on the lot. Don’t expect to find exactly what you want at your local dealership.

The solution to EV inventory woes: place an order

2022 Tesla Model 3
2022 Tesla Model 3

If you’re eager to get yourself into a new car as soon as possible, check out YAA Car Search to locate electric cars around the country. Beware misleading postings from dealerships. I’ve found that about half of dealer postings are actually misrepresenting cars that are already spoken for. 

It’s not fun, but it’s worth it to call around. Soon, you may find yourself forgetting which dealers you’ve contacted, so it’s wise to keep a spreadsheet of who you’ve reached out to, and their inventory situation. While you’re at it, keep track of what their dealer markups are for EVs. Some dealers are taking advantage of the situation and charging $5,000, $10,000 or even $20,000 over MSRP.

If you don’t find what you’re looking for at a competitive price point, most automakers let you place an order for their popular EVs. Sometimes, you’ll have to order through a dealership, so keep that in mind if you don’t see a way to place an order on the automaker’s website. For example, the Hyundai IONIQ 5 and Cadillac Lyriq can only be ordered through a participating dealer. 

If you have your eyes set on a Tesla, placing an order is simple. In fact, it takes just a few minutes (but requires a non-refundable deposit). However, demand far exceeds supply for Tesla models. Expect to wait 6-10 months for a Model Y.

Make plans for charging your electric car

buying an electric car and charging a tesla

If you drive less than 30 miles a day and live near public fast chargers, don’t sweat it. However, long distance commuters and rural EV owners will be glad they thought about how to meet their charging needs. 

Over 80% of electric car charging is done at home at affordable residential electricity rates, costing less than $15 for a full charge. If you skip any special home charger installation, plugging in to a typical wall socket will add two to four miles of range per hour. Over 12 hours (at night, for example), a standard wall outlet will add about 25 to 50 miles of range. However, frequent travelers will get tired of the slow charging speeds possible with basic 110-volt wall outlets. 

For those who regularly drive more than 50 miles each day, it will likely be worth the investment to get a level 2 home charger installed. A level 2 charger increases power supply to 240 volts, and adds about 20 to 40 miles of range per hour. Unless you’re lucky enough to already have a 240-volt dryer outlet in your garage, installing a level 2 charger at home can cost between $700 and $1500, depending on labor costs and the condition of existing electrical infrastructure in the home.

We’ve covered all you need to know about how much it costs to charge an electric car in our YAA guide to charging

Do you need fast charging?

At some point, a public DC fast charger will be essential for travels. If you purchase an electric vehicle with over 200 miles of range, getting to one shouldn’t be a problem. However, there continues to be wide variation in charge times, and that will make or break the EV ownership experience for frequent travelers. 

The Hyundai IONIQ 5, Kia EV6 and Tesla models can all add about 200 miles of driving range in about 20 minutes. However, the 2023 Subaru Solterra EV takes 56 minutes to add the same range. Pay attention to the details, and consider how each electric model would fit into your lifestyle and needs.

Taxes, rebates and more: When will you benefit the most from EV incentives?

For many households, tax liability fluctuates from year to year. If you know when a particularly large tax bill will be due, it might be a great time to buy an electric vehicle. The current federal electric vehicle tax credit is worth up to $7,500, however tax filers who owe at least as much in annual tax liability will get the full benefit from the credit. For example, a family who has a federal tax liability of $5,500 will only be able to claim $5,500 of the EV tax credit. That’s why it makes sense to purchase an EV when tax liability is expected to be at least $7,500. 

Plug-in hybrids qualify for between $2,500 and $7,500, depending on battery size. 

The credit (non-refundable) remains in effect for all automakers who have yet to reach the law’s 200,000-vehicle limit. Tesla and General Motors have surpassed the limit, so buyers of the Bolt, Silverado EV, and Tesla models won’t benefit from this generous incentive unless Congress overhauls the law. Revisions to the EV tax credit are possible in 2022. Stay up to date with the latest EV tax credit developments here

Where will you go for EV service?

tesla service center

If you live anywhere near a major metropolitan area, especially along the coasts, you’ve got nothing to worry about. The rest of us need to bear in mind the limits of EV newcomers like Rivian, Lucid and Fisker when it comes to serviceability. Tesla now has 150 service centers across the country, but a few states remain without a Tesla service center. Fisker’s affordable Ocean electric SUV is loaded with impressive specs, however service centers will be few and far between for years to come. 

This is where the strength of legacy automakers really stands out. A Tesla or Rivian service center will be hard to find in rural America, however legacy automakers have established dealer networks in every corner of the country. 

Before you go out and buy an EV, have a plan for how and where you’ll get it serviced. Electric vehicles come with a great warranty, so you’ll definitely want a way to take advantage of it. 

Consider upcoming models and updates before buying

Silverado EV
2024 Silverado EV RST

There’s always something bigger and better in the development pipeline. Newer models tout more range, faster charging and improved performance. On the other hand, prices tick upward with every added feature. 

When does it make sense to hold out for the latest and greatest? It depends on what you value most, and which electric vehicle features you desire most. Looking to get more range out of a Volkswagen or Hyundai EV? 2023 models get a slight bump. Craving faster charging? Waiting a year might save you five minutes per charge. Don’t expect huge changes from one year to the next. Automakers have set the expectation for incremental improvements. 

Ultimately, it will be up to you to decide what’s worth the wait, and when it makes sense to buy (or lease) an electric car. 

YAA’s Take

Planning ahead for your electric car purchase not only has the potential to save you money, it also makes the transition to the electric lifestyle a lot easier. It’s important to consider your household’s unique needs and wants as you shop around. In 2022, EVs represent past, present and leading-edge technologies at a wide range of price points. Here at YAA, we’re keeping track of EV availability in 2022.

As always, YAA Electric is here to empower you with the knowledge to approach car ownership with confidence. Our weekly EV newsletter is full of helpful tips, the latest EV news, and new car reviews. Consider becoming a member for expert insights and one-on-one guidance throughout the car buying process.

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Ford Model e: Ford Will Run Their EV Business Separately, Opening a Path for Direct-to-Consumer Sales

Ford Model e: Ford Will Run Their EV Business Separately, Opening a Path for Direct-to-Consumer Sales

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning

Finally, the world knows why Ford has yet to name an electric vehicle the ‘Model e.’ On March 2, Ford announced the formation of a distinct unit for electric vehicle operations. The decision paves the way for the automaker to accelerate EV development while opening new avenues for direct-to-consumer sales. Ford says they are driven by the need to compete and win against both new EV competitors and established automakers.

3/3/22 Update: Ford CEO and President Jim Farley explained the move and how it affects dealers.

“This is only about creating incredible products that improve over time. To create a better customer experience than yesterday. And ultimately, to win as a company. The reality is, our legacy organization has been holding us back. We had to change.”

Ford wants a certain number of dealers to opt in to a new Model e sales model. Model e dealers would not hold inventory. Instead, they will facilitate the delivery of online orders, much as Tesla does for their customers. Electric vehicles will be sold at non-negotiable prices. That’s just one step away from direct-to-consumer sales.

“Our message to dealers is, we’re betting on you. Get ready to specialize,” Farley said.

The Ford+ Plan in 2022

Ford’s announcement outlines the establishment of two new operational divisions that will remain under the corporate umbrella of Ford Motor Company. Ford Model e will take on the future of electric vehicle development and sales. Ford Blue will become Ford’s combustion-powered division, encompassing everything from the F-150 to the Bronco. 

The two new divisions within Ford will continue to collaborate and propel the greater Ford enterprise forward, according to the press release detailing the plans. Ford Model e and Ford Blue will join Ford Pro as the corporation continues to branch out its business model. In 2021, Ford Pro was launched as a one-stop shop for commercial and government customers.

Ford Model e: Ford’s New Electric Vehicle Business

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Lariat
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Lariat

The creation of Ford Model e was driven by the success of the popular Ford Mustang Mach-e and the overflowing support for the upcoming F-150 Lightning. Interestingly, Ford cited the success of their dedicated EV division in China as another source of inspiration for the launch of Ford Model e.

Ford President and CEO Jim Farley will take on yet another role as President of Model e. Farley has long been an outspoken proponent of Ford’s ambitious electrification plans.

“Ford Model e will be Ford’s center of innovation and growth, a team of the world’s best software, electrical and automotive talent turned loose to create truly incredible electric vehicles and digital experiences for new generations of Ford customers,” Farley said.

Ford hopes that Model e will attract and retain the best engineers and software developers to Ford. As autonomous driving and wireless over-the-air updates become the norm, Ford wants to be a leader in the reimagined automotive industry that’s currently in the making. A lot more computers, and a lot less oil. They’re pushing full steam ahead with ground-up development of electric vehicles. EV platform design, battery research and development, electric motors and inverters and charging infrastructure will all fall under the umbrella of Ford Model e. There are also plans to advance recycling infrastructure in both cost-cutting and environmentally responsible ways.

Direct-to-Consumer Sales Coming Soon

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Ford Model e Division
2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E

Ford not-so-subtly shared one of their larger ambitions for their new electric vehicle division: foregoing the dealership model. We’ve seen Ford’s corporate leadership speak out against outrageous dealer markups as the F-150 Lightning nears delivery. Ford’s announcement highlights the changes to their EV sales model:

“Ford Model e also will lead on creating an exciting new shopping, buying and ownership experience for its future electric vehicle customers that includes simple, intuitive e-commerce platforms, transparent pricing and personalized customer support from Ford ambassadors.”

Yeah, transparent pricing would be welcome. It’s great and almost shocking to see a legacy automaker making such a large pivot away from the status quo. Could the direct-to-consumer model win over new customers to the Ford brand?

Ford Blue: Combustion Lives On

Ford Bronco Ford Blue

CEO Jim Farley calls the Ford+ plan the company’s biggest opportunity for growth and value creation since Henry Ford scaled production of the Model T. Ford Blue will work to optimize Ford’s combustion-powered models and profitability through strengthened consumer relationships, quality improvements and greater operational efficiency.

“Ford Blue’s mission is to deliver a more profitable and vibrant ICE business, strengthen our successful and iconic vehicle families and earn greater loyalty by delivering incredible service and experiences. It’s about harnessing a century of hardware mastery to help build the future. This team will be hellbent on delivering leading quality, attacking waste in every corner of the business, maximizing cash flow and optimizing our industrial footprint.”

Ford Model e: Why Is It a Big Deal? 

Ford CEO Jim Farley has long said that Tesla needs to be taken seriously. Tesla, Rivian, Lucid and newcomer Fisker are all having success with direct-to-consumer sales. However, these automakers and any others who go this route face a maze of state laws that present roadblocks for direct-to-consumer sales. The dealership lobby is strong in much of the United States. So much so that a recent West Virginia bill was introduced that would ban most over-the-air updates in the state, all so that dealerships can continue to rake in service center revenue.

Other automakers are in the weeds with the dealership model, too. Kia’s much-lauded EV6 electric crossover is facing opposition from Kia dealerships. They’re simply not adapting to the coming rush of electric vehicles. Jalopnik reported that EV6 buyers are reaching out to them with stories of dealers who are making buying an EV6 a lot harder than it should be.

Nationwide, 17 states currently have a ban on direct-to-consumer sales. Eleven more states have carved out specific exceptions for Tesla (and in some cases, other automakers that sell only EVs). That’s why Tesla technically can’t sell directly to consumers in states like Texas and Washington. It’s an antiquated system in need of change.

direct to consumer sales bans
Source: Mackinac Center for Public Policy (2021)

Ford recognizes the tides of change approaching automotive sales. Automotive News reported that efforts to permit direct-to-consumer sales have been introduced in 10 states. Several of the bills already failed. More are surely to come as electric vehicle market share surpasses 5% of new auto sales in America.

YAA’s Take

This is long overdue. Consumers are fed up with dealer markups, deceptive sales tactics and stressful experiences at the dealership. But this isn’t the end for dealerships. There will be a need for dealers for decades to come, even if sales shift away from their franchises. 

Electric vehicles are coming, like it or not. Ford is aiming for annual production of more than 2 million EVs by 2026. They expect EVs to represent half of global volume by 2030. Automakers say that half a trillion dollars will go to electric vehicle development this decade. However, EVs currently can’t be serviced at the neighborhood repair shop, or in one’s home garage. Certified technicians certified in electric vehicle repair are quickly going to be in high demand at service centers everywhere. Dealership service centers aren’t going away. In fact, dealership service centers will likely see business grow as more consumers opt for electric vehicles.

Ford’s new Model e and Ford Blue divisions present a massive opportunity for new revenue streams and efficiency within Ford’s R&D and sales operations. Will other legacy automakers follow suit? Truthfully, they are very likely making plans as we speak. YAA will keep you up to date with consumer-focused automotive news. More change is surely to come.

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Electric Car Maintenance: What to Expect

Electric Car Maintenance: What to Expect

Tesla maintenance

Electric car maintenance is just one of many “new” experiences you’ll encounter when you buy your first EV. Instead of spending $50 at a gas station in a five-minute fill up, EV drivers plug in at home and spend $5 for an overnight charge. On the other hand, road trips require more planning and flexibility with an EV, at least until chargers are more common (and it looks like that will be soon). 

Another adjustment for drivers making the switch concerns maintenance and routine care. Electric car maintenance is not the kind of project you can do in your home garage using tutorial videos. It’s important to start by addressing a common EV ownership myth: electric cars are not maintenance-free. Of course, no mode of transportation is maintenance-free. Even riding a bicycle requires routine and unexpected work to keep the tires in motion and in good working condition. Fortunately, fewer moving parts should mean less maintenance overall. Is that always the case?

In this electric car maintenance guide, we’ll explain routine EV maintenance, and how often you should expect to make a service center visit.

What’s Similar About Electric Car Maintenance?

The takeaway is that although electric cars require less maintenance, they do still need attention every once in a while. Just like a traditional internal combustion engine vehicle, EVs need:

  • Tires monitoring and replacement
  • The car’s 12 Volt battery may need replacing (it powers smaller electronics)
  • HVAC maintenance
  • Brake maintenance
  • Cabin air filter replacement

What’s Different About Electric Car Maintenance?

Here’s the honest truth about EV maintenance needs:

Pros

  • No oil changes
  • Fewer moving parts means less likelihood of mechanical failure
  • No timing belts, radiator fluids or fuel filters
  • Brakes wear slowly due to regenerative braking

Cons

  • Faster tire wear
  • Don’t risk working on electrical components at home
  • Any battery or electric motor work will need to be done at the automaker’s service center

Electric Car Routine Maintenance

The past decade of electric vehicle sales has shown that the vast majority of fully-electric models require less maintenance than combustion counterparts. So much so that automakers promote maintenance cost savings in their marketing campaigns for the dozens of EVs coming out in 2022.

EVs have a higher upfront cost, so it’s important to find ways of making up for the difference with fuel savings and today’s focus: electric car maintenance.

Here’s what you can expect when transitioning to a fully-electric vehicle.

Tires

IONIQ 5 maintenance
2022 Hyundai IONIQ 5

Electric vehicles are very heavy. Popular electric crossovers like the Volkswagen ID.4 and Tesla Model Y weigh as much as a heavy-duty pickup truck. Tires undergo greater wear and tear on an electric vehicle everytime the car accelerates or slows to a stop. Many EV owners report needing new tires every 20,000 miles or so.

Some EV owners choose to spend extra on tires that are rated as energy efficient. It’s not required, but EV-friendly tires can extend range by up to 5%. Regular tire pressure should be checked and adjusted often (at least once a month) to ensure proper inflation.

12 Volt Battery

Believe it or not, today’s electric vehicles still require the same kind of 12 volt battery that you’ll find under the hood of most combustion vehicles. Why? The massive battery pack under the floor of the car is engineered to be optimized for delivering power to the electric motors. The electronics and comfort features in the cabin and lights around the vehicle are all powered by a separate, smaller 12 volt battery. So yes, your state-of-the-art electric vehicle may need a new bulky battery in a few years. 

mustang mach-e
Nothing says Mustang Mach-E like a front trunk shrimp party.

In case you’re wondering, the massive battery pack that is sealed under the floor of the vehicle is meant to last for hundreds of thousands of miles without issue. Automaker vehicle warranties cover the battery for up to 10 years and 100,000 miles. 

Perhaps the worst thing that could go wrong with an electric vehicle is needing a new lithium-ion battery pack outside of warranty coverage. A full battery replacement costs anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000, depending on the model. 

Brakes

Polestar 2
2022 Polestar 2

Most modern electric vehicles have regenerative braking, which harnesses the electric motor to slow the vehicle while adding charge to the battery pack. Regenerative braking not only extends range, it greatly reduces wear and tear on the brakes. Tesla’s have been known to go many years without any brake maintenance because of regenerative braking. A few EVs, such as the Volkswagen ID.4, even use old-fashioned drum brakes in the rear due to the greatly reduced use of electric vehicles brakes. Still, brakes will need to be checked during scheduled maintenance. Safety first! 

Fluids

GM Ultium battery
General Motors Ultium battery and platform

As explained above, brakes on an electric vehicle typically avoid the usual wear and tear of combustion cars due to the help of regenerative braking. Still, brake fluid should be checked during scheduled maintenance. Some EV models require battery coolant fluid exchanges at some point, albeit quite infrequently. HVAC refrigerants also need checking and top-offs as needed. Don’t forget about the windshield wiper fluid.

Filters

I’ve been a passenger in more than one smelly Tesla. I repeat, electric cars are NOT maintenance-free! They have cabin filters just like every other car. Failing to change the cabin filter at regular intervals also irritates allergies and permits air pollution into the cabin.

Examples of Electric Vehicle Maintenance Schedules

2022 Tesla Model Y

2022 Tesla Model Y

The service manual for the best-selling electric crossover is short and sweet.

“Your vehicle should generally be serviced on an as-needed basis. However, Tesla recommends the following maintenance items and intervals, as applicable to your vehicle, to ensure continued reliability and efficiency of your Model Y.

  • Brake fluid health check every 2 years (replace if necessary) or, if the vehicle is used for towing, replace the brake fluid every 2 years.
  • A/C desiccant bag replacement every 4 years.
  • Cabin air filter replacement every 2 years (or 3 years for HEPA filter, if equipped).
  • Clean and lubricate brake calipers every year or 12,500 miles (20,000 km) if in an area where roads are salted during winter
  • Rotate tires every 6,000 miles (10,000 km) or if tread depth difference is 1.5 mm or greater, whichever comes first”

2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E

mustang mach-e electric car maintenance

Ford recommends more frequent inspections, but the story is the same.

Every 12 months or 10,000 miles:

  • Rotate tires, inspect tire wear
  • Perform multi-point inspection (recommended)
  • Inspect brake components
  • Check the cooling system
  • Inspect half-shaft boots and suspension components
  • Inspect wheels for defects

Every 3 years:

  • Change brake fluid

Every 20,000 miles:

  • Replace cabin air filter

10 years or 150,000 miles:

  • Replace transmission fluid

200,000 miles:

  • Replace battery coolant

YAA’s Take

It’s easy to forget that electric vehicles have now been on roads for over a decade. Tesla has sold 2 million vehicles and counting, and legacy automakers are gaining ground. What does this all mean for our understanding of electric vehicle maintenance through a consumer lens? With billions of miles driven, we’re finally starting to get some idea of the reliability of electric vehicles.

There are many examples of electric vehicles that have gone hundreds of thousands of miles while following the maintenance schedules we’ve outlined here. EV skepticism is understandable; it’s a whole new vehicle ownership experience. However, frugal car buyers would be mistaken to overlook the maintenance and fuel savings that electric vehicles offer for most consumers.

Detailed cost of ownership analyses show that despite the differences in MSRP, in the end, owners spend about the same amount of money in five years of Tesla Model 3 ownership as they would owning a $25,000 Toyota Camry for the same period. How so? Fuel and maintenance savings add up quicker the more you drive and the longer you own the car.

How will dealership service center revenue streams adapt to the decreased maintenance needs of electric vehicles? Will dealers be getting in on the software-by-subscription game? Or will dealers put up a fight to preserve their wallets? 

There remain many unknowns and this time of rapid change in the automotive industry. Your consumer advocates here at YAA are helping thousands of car buyers navigate the reinvented auto industry that’s emerging in the post-pandemic world. Stay tuned, we’ll figure it out together. 

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